Songhai History of West Africa Upper Senegal & Niger


Segou (Segu, Seku) was a state, named after the capital city of Segou, located on the upper Niger river in modern Mali. Kaladian Kulibali (1652-1682) and Mamari Kulibali (1712-1755) were the most prominent kings of Segou. The latter conquered Macina and Jenne. Segou conquered Timbuktu c.1800.
Segou long dominated the upper Niger valley; in 1818, the Segou was conquered by Shehu Ahmadu Lobbo of Macina (which had broken away). In 1824 the population of the city of Segou is estimated to have been 30,000 to 40,000 inhabitants. In 1861, Segou was conquered by Al-Haji Umar, ruler of the Tukulor State. Al-Haji Umar (died in 1864) moved his residence to Segou; his son Ahmadu also ruled from Segou, until he was ousted from there in 1890. Ahmadu faced a rebellion in the Bambara regions of Segou and Kaarta in the 1870es. In 1880 and 1887 he signed treaties with the French, whom he regarded an ally. The Tukulor Empire (called Tukolor Segou) depended on the import of French firearms.
Inn 1889 the French opened hostilities against Tukulor Segou and took the capital in 1890. An appeal by Ahmadu to neighbouring Muslim states, to come to his aid, failed to produce results. The French confiscated Ahmadu's library (Arab-language manuscripts), now in the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris. The state of Segou had fallen to the French by 1893; Ahmadu went into exile to Sokoto.

David Robinson. The Holy War of Umar Tal : the Western Sudan in the mid-nineteenth century, from webpulaaku
The Bamana Segou State, from Metropolitan Museum of Art
Article Segou, from Columbia Encyclopedia
Luoise-Marie Diop-Maes, African Popultion History
Segou Collection, posted by AMMS
The Toucouleur People, from Toucouleur Web, page has religious agenda; still detailed history
Toucouleur Empire, by Ralf Suertenich
DOCUMENTS Map of Timbuktu from 1855, from Perry Castaneda Library at UTexas
Printed Doc.: Negotiations at Nango 1880 betw.French Captain Gallieni and the representative of Segou, pp.153-160 in John D. Hargreaves, France and West Africa : an Anthology of Historical Documents, London : MacMillan 1969
Printed Doc.: Speech by French Lt. Archinard at Segou on the inauguration of a new fama, inthroned by the French, 1890, pp.198-200 in John D. Hargreaves, France and West Africa : an Anthology of Historical Documents, London : MacMillan 1969
REFERENCE M'Baye Gueye and A. Adu Boahen, Conquest and Reaction in French West Africa 1880-1900, pp.117-127; in A. du Boahen (ed.), Unesco General History of Africa Vol.VII : Africa under Colonial Domination 1880-1935, Paris etc. 1985

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2001, last revised on November 6th 2004

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